Geek Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

The Guardians are out for one last great team adventure, so it’s only natural that director James Gunn will take viewers out for a ride in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. (GoTG Vol.3). A swan song for Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) team of misfits (Gunn and crew have indicated that this version of the team won’t surface again) made up of Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Nebula (Karen Gillian), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Groot (Vin Diesel), this final GotG movie is everything you expect it to be: funny, action-packed, emotional, and yes, sappy. 

Things have changed quite a bit since we last saw all of MCU’s heroes on the big screen fighting mad supervillain Thanos, as that climatic battle has led to significant changes – Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) has put down his shield, Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) spends more time with his cousin Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who joined the Guardians after that battle has since left the team to become a father, after losing the love of his life in Thor: Love and Thunder.

guardians of the galaxy

The start of GoTG Vol. 3 gets audiences up to speed on the key changes, including the rather confusing loss and return of Gamora, who is still MIA, and truth be told, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. The team has expanded to officially include Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and talking space dog Cosmo (Maria Bakalova) – whom you would’ve met if you caught Disney+’s Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special – but Quill is pretty despondent over losing Gamora, again. They’re no longer the fun batch fans know them to be and spend most of the time in their current base of operations in Knowhere. Things change when Rocket is put in grave danger and the team gets the kick in the rear they need, to head back out and save their beloved friend. 

Rocket becomes the main focus of this sequel as we explore his backstory through a series of flashbacks. It’s not the most ideal way of learning about a character because it’s rather lazy storytelling but if it means we get scenes of Baby Rocket, we’re not complaining. The movie moves back and forth between Rocket’s past and what is happening in the current day before converging into the final act. While Rocket’s past is devastating to say the least, the current day is where we get the most action. 

The team, which also includes new Gamora, set out to new planets and find themselves face to face with a new villain, The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) and his new lackey, Adam Warlock (Will Poulter). The High Evolutionary intends to recreate new societies he deems as perfect – what a Thanos wannabe – and the Guardians have just what he needs to achieve that. 

guardians of the galaxy

The action in GoTG Vol. 3 is taken up several notches and dare we say, is a little bit more violent than what we’ve seen in previous outings. It’s still a PG-13 movie so don’t expect blood all over the screen, but as a heads up, do expect to see some dismembered body parts. Each Guardian has a special ability of their own too so combat in this film is a lot more entertaining than shooting laser guns. Speaking of guns, Gunn utilizes the classic hero one-shot sequence more than once here, and for what it’s worth, each iteration is just as impactful as the previous and the next. For a bunch of misfits, Gunn certainly knows how to make his characters incredibly badass and capable, even if they’re not always the most competent and traditional of heroes. 

But while the heroes get the glory and focus, the same cannot be said about the supposed bad guys here and this is a continuation of what’s missing from the MCU – strong villains. We hate to say it but, GoTG Vol. 3 has the same problem as all other Marvel movies post-Endgame have – a bad guy that is truly terrifying or whose scheme matters. The High Revolutionary is evil, so much so that we’d say he’s why organisations like PETA exist. Here’s another deluded but God-tier-level being who has incredible abilities and resources on hand, but he is not a God worth fearing because he doesn’t actually do much but sit around barking orders all day. 

guardians of the galaxy

Poulter’s Adam is a character comic fans know and love so surprise surprise – he’s not meant to remain evil and was written with a redemption arc attached, to give future MCU architects creative freedom to determine the future of the character. But for a successful redemption arc to work, you need a successful villain (Hello Nebula), and Adam is not one of them. He is perhaps the most powerful character in this movie, but we don’t see him use his powers to great effect because he’s too immature, silly and daft to be taken seriously as a villain. Don’t get us wrong, we do like him as a side character but this isn’t the big debut of Adam Warlock we expected so here’s hoping that the character gets explored in a more imaginative and sincere way moving forward. 

That said, this is meant to be a swan song for our crew so fans can look forward to more screen time for each Guardian. Our main complaint for GoTG Vol. 2 was that it meandered too much on relationships, particularly that of Gamora and Quill’s will they or won’t they situation, as well as Drax and Mantis’ schoolyard crush, and GoTG Vol. 3 avoids that mistake completely.

Fans who are equally heartbroken about the status of Quill and Gamora’s relationship get the closure they need (so suck it up and move on!), while Drax and Mantis’ playful crush has turned into a strong platonic friendship that allows each of their individuality to shine through. Nebula gets a more leadership role within the team, as each member is finally given the opportunity to not only show what they’re worth when they work together but also when each can individually achieve without the doubts and playful bullying from the others. The only relationship that remains central is the team’s overwhelming love for Rocket. 

This is a Gunn movie so humour and a sick soundtrack is a given, as the new head of rival DC Studios continues to make his GoTG franchise stand out in the MCU with a deft mix of wit and screwball sentiments. Quill is clueless and unaware, Drax is straight-up dumb, while Mantis is too precious for her own good, and these in turn provide more than enough opportunities for Rocket, Gamora and Nebula to pick at them for their lack of intelligence. Some of the humour borderlines on bullying, but it also serves as a way to show their familial closeness. Gunn also seems to have a better hand at balancing the humour this time around, so it doesn’t take away from the emotional moments we do experience in this movie. As usual, the soundtrack here is amazing, featuring a good mix of songs from the previous movies and new tracks to better suit the story. 

Now, we know what you’re thinking – is this really the end for the Guardians? We’re afraid so. Not only have the stars themselves declared retirement from the role, but by the end of the movie, fans will leave with a better understanding of what’s next for each member. While we will keep our fingers crossed for a potential reunion two or three years down the road, GoTG Vol. 3 gives a pretty simple ending to an adventurous few chapters.

Maybe Gunn wants to ensure that no one else can come in after him to rebuild the team but as with the comics the franchise is built on, it is only when one chapter ends that another can begin. Maybe Marvel might explore these individual chapters sometime in the future but if this is the end of the Guardians as we know them, at least we got one final epic and heartfelt adventure that we’ll never forget.



Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 wraps up all the adventures this beloved team of misfits have gone on with heart, humour and a whole lot of action.

  • Story - 7/10
  • Direction - 9/10
  • Characterisation - 8/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 8/10